This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Respiratory Physiology of Urban Insects




DeVries, Zachary

Type of Degree



Entomology and Plant Pathology


Respiratory physiology of urban insects was studied. Specific urban insect pests studied included silverfish, Lepisma saccharina L., firebrats, Thermobia domestica (Packard), and bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. All of these species frequently infest human dwellings and are unusual in their ability to survive extended periods of starvation, sometimes more than a year. Closed system respirometry was used to measure the standard metabolic rate (SMR) of silverfish, firebrats, and bed bugs. Closed system respirometry was also used to measure the post-feeding and post-molting metabolic rates of the common bed bug. SMR results indicated distinct differences both within and among species. Post-feeding and post-molting metabolism results indicated a pattern in respiratory decline during starvation possibly unique to bed bugs. All results were interpreted with respect to the life histories of the insects being studied.